CTIA Show News Briefs

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Here are a few more news items from a busy CTIA Show being held in Las Vegas this week:

Cellphone Penetration At 88.5%

The number of cellular subscriptions in the U.S. grew by 14.9 million in 2008 to 270.3 million, the CTIA’s semi-annual subscriber survey shows. That’s represents a penetration rate of 88.5 percent of the U.S. population, based on the Census Bureau’s population estimate of 305.5 million as of Jan. 1.

The subscription number includes people who have more than one subscription, such as two phones or one phone and one wireless-data modem. As a result, the number of people using wireless devices is slightly lower than the number of subscriptions.

The 14.9 million gain in subscribers in 2008 was down from 2007’s 22.4 million gain and was the lowest since 2002’s12.4 million gain, underscoring the cellphone market’s maturity.  

PCD Readies New Phones

Personal Communications Devices (PCD) unveiled two new CDMA phones and its first non-CDMA wireless modem, a USB model for GSM/HSPA networks.

The UMG181 modem, available from T-Mobile, is a quadband EDGE/quadband HSPA model. The HSPA bands are the U.S. 850/1900/AWS bands and the 21MHz overseas band. Features include MicroSD slot, 7.2Mbps peak downloads, and 5.76Mbps peak uploads.

One of the new CDMA phones, the TXT8026, is a version of the 800/1900MHz Blitz made by PCD for Verizon, but the new model adds the AWS band. Both feature slide-down QWERTY keyboard/dialing keypad.

The second phone, the TXT8030, is an 800/1900MHz CDMA phone with angled-up QWERTY keyboard/dialing keypad. The keypad swivels around 180 degrees to the back, being replaced in front by speakers and music buttons that give the phone a transistor-radio-like look.

Zer01 Sets Launch Date

Startup prepaid carrier Zer01 announced a July 1 commercial launch of its unlimited mobile VoIP and data service, a $69.99/month no-contract service that will be bundled with Pharos’s Windows Mobile smartphones. The service will also be available for use with any unlocked GSM Windows Mobile smartphone after an over-air software download.

Support for other devices, such as the Blackberry, Android and iPhone, will be available within months, the company said.

Distribution through retailers is planned. The $69.99 plan includes unlimited calling and data throughout the U.S. For another $10, consumers get unlimited calling to 40 counties. Prices include all taxes and fees except for a $30 activation fee.

To deliver the service, Zer01signed roaming agreements with multiple U.S. GSM carriers to use their data channels to create a national footprint. The service doesn’t use the carriers’ circuit-switched voice channels for voice calls, thus reducing costs.


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